Archive for January, 2012

Mind/Body Connection
January 25, 2012

Recently one of my patients and I were talking about the mind/body connection and she thought it would be an important topic for my next E-Brief.  My first encounter with the mind body connection was at the age of 17 through a book that was written by Oncologist, Dr. Bernie Siegel.  The book I read was called “Love, Medicine and Miracles”. 

 In this book Dr. Siegel discussed two distinct types of patients that were in his oncology practice.  One kind of patient never questioned him, took his word as the gospel and those patients would often pass away almost exactly to the month and or day that he had predicted based on the diagnosis and prognosis.  Then there were the other kinds of patients who would ask questions, were vocal and would often walk into his office years later very much alive.  They often told him they had a garden to tend to, grandchildren to take care of and so on and were too busy to die. 

 This was so fascinating to him that he also began to see if there was a way he could help make sure the therapies he recommended were right for his patients.  The way that Dr. Siegel did this was by asking his patients to draw what it would be like for them to get radiation, chemo and other recommended cancer therapies.  If someone drew rainbows and other lively scenarios he knew that therapy would work for them.  If on the other hand one would draw skulls, bones, and more dark images he knew that therapy was not going to be right for the patient. 

 The information from “Love, Medicine and Miracles” was my first encounter with such ideas and you can find out more about Dr. Siegel and his books at 

 For the past 30 years I have been fascinated and excited by the power that our thoughts and actions have on our physical and mental health.  I recently had the opportunity to interview another important pioneer in this new paradigm of thought Ms. Jane Barrash.  She created a ‘Discovery of Self” Program and has taught this over the past two decades to Fortune 500 Companies, Healthcare Facilities, Indian Reservations, Communities, Correctional Facilities and many other venues.  I interviewed Ms. Barrash at The Black United Fund of Illinois and what she teaches is very much on the same realm of Dr. Bernie Siegel and many others about consciousness, human capacity and the interconnectedness of our lives. 

 At the Black United Fund of Illinois, Jane was teaching her “Discovery of Self” Program to those who were just out of prison and were looking to get back into the community and find work.  Her class was about looking at their actions and changing their thoughts and reactions to create a healthier mental environment at home, the work place and in society in general.  Ms. Barrash has had an incredible impact on these students and her program can be used for anyone who wants to improve how they can go from being a victim to being proactive.  To learn more about Ms. Barrash go to 

 Below is the video of my interview with Jane Barrash at the Black United Fund.  I hope you enjoy it!